If your hip has been irreversibly damaged by arthritis, the excruciating pain associated with movement can interfere with daily living. In fact, depending on the severity of your condition, it may impair your ability to walk, stand up, climb stairs, or complete other necessary activities. A total hip replacement, also called a total hip arthroplasty, can be a safe and effective way to return you to a normal, pain-free life when other, more conservative treatments have not helped.
At Beacon Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Haleem Chaudhary takes a minimally invasive anterior approach to total hip replacements. This type of procedure can provide you with all of the same benefits of a traditional hip replacement, with far less tissue trauma, a faster recovery, fewer post-operative restrictions, and a lower risk of displacing your new joint. This makes an anterior approach ideal for professionals who don’t want to take too much time off of work, or active adults who don’t want to miss an entire season of their favorite sports.
While an appointment with Dr. Chaudhary is the only way to determine if an anterior approach to total hip replacement is the best option for your hip pain, here is information you can consider beforehand.
Advantages of Anterior Hip Replacement
An anterior (front) approach to total hip replacement differs from a traditional, posterior (rear) approach in a few significant ways.
During a traditional hip replacement, a surgeon would make a 10 to 12-inch incision on the side of your hip. Next, the surgeon would cut through and remove soft tissue attached to your hip bone in order to dislocate it. By doing this, the surgery team would have a clear view of your joint. Finally, the surgeon would then remove the damaged bone and insert and secure an implant in the appropriate location.
At Beacon, an anterior approach hip replacement often involves a smaller incision of only 3 to 6 inches in length. As the name implies, the incision would be made at the front of your hip area where there is substantially less soft tissue. The most significant difference with an anterior approach, however, is the fact that Dr. Chaudhary would utilize a muscle interval in order to access your joint. This would allow the surgery team to work between your soft tissue rather than cut through it.
While the limited amount of trauma done to your body is perhaps the most significant reason to consider a minimally invasive procedure, an anterior approach offers additional benefits including those following.
Naturally, less damage to your body means less time for recovery so, in addition to less potential for scarring, you can also expect a shorter stay in our overnight rooms. Nearly all patients being physical therapy the following day, and are cleared to go home within 24-hours of surgery. Ultimately, though, the amount of time you need to recover will depend on your personal health.
Better Range of Movement
Patients who undergo a traditional hip replacement often have to adhere to a strict set of instructions during the weeks following their surgery. These patients are instructed to avoid bending over, crossing their legs, or undertaking other movements that may dislocate their new joint. Additionally, a physician may instruct the patient to sleep with a pillow between their legs or use an elevated toilet seat. And while physicians often advise patients to follow these precautions for 6 to 8 weeks, some may recommend a longer period of time or require the patient to refrain from certain activities indefinitely.
An anterior approach would reduce your amount of post-operative restrictions. You could bend over, sit with your legs crossed, use normal chairs, drive, or otherwise return to everyday living within a few weeks of your operation.
Lower Risk of Hip Displacement
No matter what form of hip replacement you receive, you will need to learn how to adapt your movements in order to accommodate and preserve your implant. Fortunately, an anterior hip replacement offers a lower risk of dislocating your hip’s new ball and socket. In fact, with proper care, patients are able to preserve their new joints for years and even enjoy swimming, cycling, golfing, and other low-impact sports.
Candidates for a Minimally Invasive Anterior Hip Replacement
In order to be a suitable candidate for a minimally invasive anterior hip replacement, you should meet the criteria for surgery in general as well as meet the criteria for this specific procedure.
A good candidate for a general hip replacement has debilitating pain or restricted movement that limits or completely impairs their ability to complete ordinary tasks. This pain is most often the result of severe osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another form of the disease that has irreversibly damaged the joint or hip bone; however, surgery may also be an option for those with a different condition that significantly limits their movement and quality of life.
In terms of an anterior approach, a surgeon must be able to both work between soft tissues as well as operate with a restricted view of the joint area. Because of this, individuals with smaller frames are often better candidates than those with muscular or obese frames.
Keep in mind, however, that surgery is often reserved for those who have attempted other, more conservative forms of treatment such as injections, regenerative medicine, or physical therapy, but experience limited or no improvements. Moreover, you will be required to complete physical therapy that will help ease your post-operative pain, restore your range of motion, and teach you how to preserve your new joint.
Meet with a Physician to Discuss Your Options
Like all forms of surgery, anterior hip replacement carries a level of risk. The only way to minimize these risks and ensure the best outcome for you is to work with a physician of considerable experience and skill.
Dr. Chaudhary has been a board certified orthopedic surgeon and a member of Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine for nearly a decade. With a specialization in minimally invasive anterior hip replacement, he can quickly determine if a joint replacement is the best treatment option for your condition. If you meet with Dr. Chaudhary, he will speak with you about what you can expect from the procedure, as well as on the day of your surgery and during the weeks following.